Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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Modeling Brain Pathology of Niemann-Pick Disease Type C Using Patient-Derived Neurons

Mov Disord. 2021 Apr;36(4):1022-1027.

Authors/Editors: Burbulla LF
Mc Donald JM
Valdez C
Gao F
Bigio EH
Krainc D
Publication Date: 2021
Type of Publication: Journal Article

Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) is a rare autosomal-recessive lysosomal storage disease that is also associated with progressive neurodegeneration. NPC shares many pathological features with Alzheimer's disease, including neurofibrillary tangles, axonal spheroids, β-amyloid deposition, and dystrophic neurites. Here, we examined if these pathological features could be detected in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons from NPC patients.

Brain tissues from 8 NPC patients and 5 controls were analyzed for histopathological and biochemical markers of pathology. To model disease in culture, iPSCs from NPC patients and controls were differentiated into cortical neurons.

We found hyperphosphorylated tau, altered processing of amyloid precursor protein, and increased Aβ42 in NPC postmortem brains and in iPSC-derived cortical neurons from NPC patients.

Our findings demonstrated that the main pathogenic phenotypes typically found in NPC brains were also observed in patient-derived neurons, providing a useful model for further mechanistic and therapeutic studies of NPC. © 2021 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

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